A new-found passion

Rochester's Reed Whiting played hockey at Ohio State but is making it big in ice cross downhill.

An adventure has been described as "an exciting or unusual experience; it may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome.''

That said, meet Reed Whiting, who then goes on to describe himself as an avid outdoorsman.

Gosh, yes.

Not in any particular order, Whiting has tried kite surfing, bull riding, speed flying, wakeboarding, scuba diving and skiing.

He has also Run with the Bulls in Spain, bow hunted crocodiles, backpacked across South America, spent three months as part of an around the world sailing trip and lived in Honduras for a winter.


This week he is in France, skiing.

OK, you might think that Whiting has run out of adventures by now but the answer to that is no.

He has another one — Red Bull Crashed Ice.

You can call it his new passion.

"I'm 100 percent committed,'' he said. "It's not to the point where I can make a living at it, but we'll see. A year or two, who knows.''

Crashed Ice is ski cross except with ice skates on an ice track. It is a combination of hockey, motocross and downhill skiing and held on a track which includes steep turns, huge jumps and high vertical drops.

Think of skating down a three-story building on skates, with speeds up to 40 miles per hour.

It is not for the timid, and Whiting is not timid.


"I've jumped off cliffs before,'' he said, "and the first couple of times that helped any fear factor I had.''

The Red Bull tour includes five worldwide stops — Niagra Falls, St Paul, Landgraaf, Netherlands, Lausanne, Switzerland and the finals in Quebec City.

It was the stop in Switzerland which put Whiting on the Crashed Ice map. Remember when we talked about passion? Here's his story.

He first heard of Crashed Ice in January of 2012 and competed for the first time last January in St. Paul. He did more than OK, one of three rookies to qualify for the international competition where he finished 57th.

Not bad for a first-timer but he did not accumulate enough points for entry into another event. So it looked like his season was over.

But then he received a Facebook message that stated there was a Last Chance Qualifier in Ajrolo, Switzerland for the Crashed Ice event in nearby Lausanne.

Whiting remembers the date, Feb. 13. He was based in Baltimore at the time, working as a catastrophe insurance adjuster.

"No one knew anything about the qualifier so I just decided to wing it and within an hour booked a flight ($880) that same day to a small ski resort in Switzerland,'' he said. "I had no idea if I would even be allowed to compete, but I wanted it so bad I was willing to take a chance.''


He couldn't even find anyone who spoke English.

"Eventually I met somebody from Red Bull and he couldn't believe anyone would fly halfway around the world without a guarantee to compete,'' Whiting said. "He said, 'of course' you can compete.''

Whiting stayed at the resort for a few days of practice, flew back to the United States to work for three days before flying back to Switzerland and the main event.

This time he finished 30th and was able to advance to the 2013 Crashed Ice finals in Quebec City. He finished 72nd but proved he could compete with the best.

"That only motivates me even more,'' he said. "I'm hooked.''

His story to Switzerland was retold on the NBC Sports Network last month. His Crashed Story is only the beginning.

"It's a short season, only five events,'' he said, "so you have to be ready for every one of them. And I plan to be. I want to be the best.''

There is no Crashed Ice course to practice, but you can get in shape.


Whiting will. This summer, he'll skate at the Four Seasons rink in Kasson and on dryland at the skate part at Silver Lake. He'll run, jump, lift weights and everything in between in order to get in the best shape of his life.

"Crashed Ice is only going to continue to grow,'' Whiting said, "and I want to be a big part of it. I'm a very competitive person and i want to be on the top. Whatever it takes.

"This is what I want to do.''

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